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Monday, May 17, 2010

Another method to hunting while starving: Trapping


Now I am just a beginner myself, but I always have open options for whatever.  I own traps and will use them this winter to learn as well as use the skins to further my "hobby" as people call it.  I also own a bow (compound) which I practice on regularly.  I am writing this as a here is what I have learned, and something to keep in mind.

Trapping has it's drawbacks.  You have to do quite a bit of prepping to use them and then before setting them, you must find tracks and use bait for certain little animals and all this while making sure not to leave YOUR scent.  Now at the moment I will not use snares.  I know how to make them, I know how to set them... but I won't use them.  I own 110, 120, and larger traps that squeeze the live out of the furbearers (conibear traps).  It is more humane and usually doesn't harm the pelts, that people will buy.  As much as some "organizations" say that it is cruel... well when they don't have anything to eat or wear, then they can talk to me about what is cruel when I leave them in the snow.  But I digress.

Prepping your traps and snares takes a lot of time and if you screw up you have to start over again.  Boiling them is the usual practice.  The reason, as it takes the smell off from previous kills and sterilizes any smell that may be on it.  It doesn't matter if your trap has rust on it.... as traps rust eventually.  Boiling is just a precaution to help you get an animal.  But oil can be a problem down the road.  Always use gloves of some sort that is only used for your traps.  it helps keep your smell off the traps.  Also, always air out your traps before setting them... your scent on anything can be life or death for you later.

Setting them is usually the main problem.  You have to know where and when the certain animal you are looking for, walks and has it's trails.  If you are in a situation where you are in limbo concerning tracks, it is always good to it down and watch.  Look for squirrels as they are not hibernators.  Look for birds as they always know where the remains of something are.  Look for trees.  Now the reason I say trees is due to natural caves where some animals are wintering.  Also looked for downed trees due to wolverines and beaver possibly around the area.  I wouldn't recommend trapping either of these two until you are more comfortable with smaller furbearers.  But always keep in mind they may be around.  Wolverines, coyotes and wolves are known to follow your trap line and eat your kills.  Beavers have been seen wandering around in the winter, younger ones, if they did not prepare their pond properly and are on the look out for uncovered snow trees and may trip your traps and possibly get caught.  It is always good to have a track book with paw imprints in it to help you identify what you are looking at.  Make sure it will work for your area as well.

Baiting your trap is up to you.  Peanut butter is a great bait.  Old smelling fish works.  Even dog food.  In some cases you don't need bait.  It just depends on the type of trap you are using.  Always check before you purchase certain traps what you need to do.  It won't boil down to what type of trap always, it will boil down on how you can camouflage your trap to make it work for you. 

You will only be successful in the first year(s) about 10% of the time.  Mostly by pure luck.  Don't get frustrated due to this.  Trapping is a huge learning curve and is probably one of the hardest ways to hunt as it takes patience and in some cases luck.  But when you learn how it becomes easier and easier.  And when you learn the basics, it will always change.  Always remember when you trap it is a waiting game but this can also be a life saver down the road as you don't need to use ammo in most cases.  If you are trapping larger animals, then it would be advisable to use a gun... I recommend a shot gun per the type of animal you trap.  Weasels, Muskrats, Rabbits etc you really do not need one.  Foxes, Coyotes... 14 to 12 gauge is preferably.  Anything larger... bring a rifle as you don't want to damage the pelt if you are going to sell it or use it for yourself.  I own a over under 22/14.  It works very well for what I trap for.

After you start becoming proficient in trapping... the next step is skinning and prepping the pelt.  Everyone is different concerning this process.  Field dressing is close to what you should do for your kills.. but there is more to it, if you want to keep your pelt.  The link I provided has multiple ways of skinning.

After you are done skinning your animal.  It is up to you if you decide to eat the animal.  I would if I were starving.  There is no reason to not use the meat, especially if you and your family are starving.  Trapping is quite a bit of work, but it is low cost compared to using your guns and ammo, especially if your ammo is running very low.  If you were in that situation, I am sure you would use it as well.  The pelts could be a means of buying power down the road. 

Keeping an open mind is what it is all about.  What you can do and what you should do is the difference in living and dieing.  I hope you look through the links I have provided and glean enough information to help you out in the future.  Next post will be on bow hunting.

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1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

"...they can talk to me about what is cruel when I leave them in the snow" - ROFL!

I never saw that one coming ... good on you!

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